You’ve heard of Bennifer and Brangelina, but are you familiar with the cloffice? A mash-up of closet and office, the cloffice is a new way to add functionality to your personal space. While the term cloffice can be used to describe a home office that is also used as a giant walk-in closet, when we say cloffice, we mean an office IN a closet.
The cloffice is a creative solution for anyone who works or studies from home, but doesn’t have a dedicated home office. They’re also great for families who need additional office or study space for partners and kids. Although there are many variations on the theme, the cloffice basics are: an empty closet, a desk or work surface, and a chair.
Choosing your Closet Some closets are better suited to working in than others, but if you can sit comfortably in your closet’s door opening, you can turn it into cloffice. If you have a closet with double bi-fold doors or a walk-in closet that can be converted, you’ve hit the cloffice jackpot, but even a standard single closet can work for you. (Pun intended.)
Ideally, your closet will be in a room or a low-traffic area of the house. That said, don’t discount hall closets. We know of one crafter who set up a beautiful cloffice in a high-traffic area because she did her crafting while her family was out of the house or asleep. You might also find areas of the house that aren’t technically closets, but can still get the cloffice treatment, such as under the stairs, in an awkward nook, or at the end of a hallway.
Access to electricity to power your computer and lamp in your cloffice is another plus but is by no means a deal-breaker—you’ll only be limited by how long your laptop battery lasts on a charge. If power is a must, however, you can have your cloffice professionally wired or run an extension cord to a nearby outlet.
Of course, the one downside to the cloffice is you will have to sacrifice storage space to create a workspace. This often means relocating clothing to another closet, or finding another piece of furniture with built-in organizational space, such as a storage bed that can hold a dresser’s worth of clothing or linens in its base.
Creating your Cloffice Once everything is out of the closet, take careful measurements of your space. It also helps to draw a quick sketch or take a picture on your phone to help with planning and shopping. Most bedroom closets will be at least 24” deep, but hall closets and closets that were not intended to store clothing may be shallower. Don’t worry—there are solutions for all cloffices.
This is also a good time to weigh the pros and cons and decide if you want to leave the doors on your cloffice or take them off. On one hand, taking the doors off makes it easier to find furniture that fits; on the other hand, if you leave the doors on, you’ll be able to close them at the end of the workday—out of sight, out of mind. Either way, make sure you take that into consideration when measuring the depth of your closet. If your workstation sticks out even just a half-inch too much, you won’t be able to close the door.
With your measurements in hand, you can start shopping for furniture and accessories to make your empty closet a fabulous cloffice.
Pick a Desk, Any Desk Well, maybe not any desk. The desk you choose needs to fit inside your cloffice AND give you enough space on top for your computer set-up (laptop, additional monitors, keyboard, etc.)
If you are planning to take the door(s) off your closet, width is your biggest constraint; your new desk can sit fully inside the closet, flush with the doorframe, or even out into the room a little. If the doors are staying on, make sure your desk fits through the doorway and fully inside the closet itself. Try these cloffice-approved desks on for size:
Just 16 inches deep by 36 inches wide, the simple but stylish Workspace desk is perfect for small-scale cloffices and study nooks, and coordinates with other pieces in the Workspace collection. Beside it, the solid wood Worksite desk easily slips through a 31-inch opening to fit closets 28 inches or deeper and has a space-saving, pull-out keyboard tray with cushioned wrist support behind the flip-down drawer front.
A modern take on the classic “sawhorse desk,” the Bertmond features two handy shelves and a striking two-toned finish. 24 inches deep and 47-inch wide, this versatile desk can be assembled in place to fit a slightly narrower opening. Another compact desk that can be assembled in place, the Gerdanet is just 20 inches deep and has raised “gallery rail” sides to keep pens from rolling off its 43-inch wide butcher-block style top.
Your open-door cloffice can create a beautiful focal point in the room when outfitted with a distinctive piece like the Luxenford or Realyn—two beautiful desks that demand to be seen.
The three smooth-gliding drawers of the Luxenford desk will help keep your cloffice organized and tidy, while the Realyn features both a drawer for storage and a full-size keyboard drawer with flip down front. TIP: Use the Realyn's matching bookcase elsewhere in the room to tie the look together and provide both open and hidden storage.
Have a Seat Whether your cloffice is an open- or closed-door affair, the chair you choose should be comfortable, functional, and attractive. Keep in mind, office chairs usually don’t get to hang out with the rest of your furniture. If you have an open-door cloffice or don't have room to store your chair inside your closed-door cloffice, your chair will be on display 24/7 and should coordinate with the room its in. Here are are just a few that might fit the bill:
This classic button tufted swivel chair with adjustable seat height and tilt looks as good as it feels and suits a traditional décor style, while on the other side of the style-spectrum, this black faux leather bucket chair exudes mid-century modern cool.
To add a bit of contemporary flair, roll up in the sleek Baraga swivel chair in classic chrome and white faux leather. Or, if there’s not enough room for an accent chair and an office chair in the room, the modern Lark in soft forest green velvet fills both roles beautifully.
It’s All in the Details Before assembling your cloffice, take it from closet to office with a fresh coat of paint or some fun wallpaper to inject some personality and cover up years of scuff marks. Do any necessary wiring and, if you’re removing the doors, stow them safely away and fill the holes left by the hardware. To maximize the storage space, add shelves, taking them to the full height of the closet. The top shelves can be used for items you don’t need regular access to, like spare office supplies.
After the basics are in place, move your desk into place, then add your functional and decorative items, like bulletin boards, art, and desk accessories. Be sure to include personal items, mementos, and your favourite stationery to make your workday a little more tolerable and a lot more fun. To give your workspace a little touch of nature, include a plant or two—real for open-door cloffices or a convincing fake for closed-door cloffices.
Cloffices that have swinging doors (as opposed to bi-fold) have the added benefit of hanging space on the inside, so go ahead and attach pegboard or baskets directly to the door, or use an over-the-door organizer to keep frequently used items close at hand. When the door is open, you'll have full access; when the door is closed, everything will be neatly out of sight.
If you didn’t have your cloffice wired with an outlet and lighting, add USB or battery powered lights to illuminate your space. Or, if your room gets plenty of natural sunlight, hang a mirror in your cloffice to light it naturally and visually expand the space.
Finally, set up your equipment, slide your chair into place, and get to work in your beautiful new cloffice!
Are you working or taking classes from home? Tag #DufresneStyle on Instagram and show us how you are making your space work for you.